Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, spoke in support of draft legislation that encourages additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on September 19.
A key feature of the bill is the proposal to increase the NIH budget by 5 percent a year for 2007 through 2009, with up to half of budget increases going into a “common fund.” The new fund would support interdisciplinary research projects that involve multiple NIH institutes and centers.
“The bill’s provision for a 5 percent increase in annual funding is of greatest importance,” Miller said in his remarks. “When I met with [Committee Chairman Joe Barton] this summer we agreed that traditional walls separating branches of medical scientists need to be demolished. Today, we know it takes a community of scientists from many disciplines to unravel the mysteries of the human body.”
Miller mentioned the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins as an example of how today’s research is being conducted.
“Creating a ‘common fund’ to promote trans-NIH research activities represents an important commitment to collaborative science,” Miller said. “It’s the quickest and most sensible way to find cures and treatments.”
The bill is considered to have bipartisan support and could reach the House floor for a vote by the end of September.